Making the decision to get a dog is a wonderful thing, but choosing the right dog for you and your family is a little more complicated than it looks like from the outset. When picking a dog, your entire family must agree on the breed, behavior, age, color, and temperament of the dog to make sure all your family members are on board with the decision. Have a family discussion before you go out to adopt a dog to make sure that your entire family is on board with adopting a dog in the first place.
When it’s time to choose a dog, you want to make sure you pick one that enjoys being hugged, handled, examined, and more. He must be obedient to your commands and easily trained to ensure he is a good fit in your home. Make sure the dog you’ve gone to see approaches you well, is happy and well mannered, and enjoys being around you and your family.
As you handle the dog, he must enjoy being cuddled and played with, and must not show aggression in these situations. A little bit of play fighting is acceptable, of course, but aggression is a bad sign that there is something more severe taking place. Make sure every member of your family is on board with handling the dog, too – eventually, every one of you will have to care for him, and it is important that everyone agrees on type, temperament, and more when adopting.
Maybe most importantly, you need to evaluate your living situation in preparation for the dog’s arrival. If you have a one-bedroom apartment, or other similar living situation that is very small, a large-breed dog that requires a significant amount of exercise is not going to be a wise adoption for you. Similarly, any dog that joins a house already crowded with too many pets will not be provided the love, care, and compassion that it needs. Choose wisely!
Finally, evaluate whether you are ready to make the commitment for a pet. A pet is a permanent adoption, and dogs are creatures that will need permanent care for the next 10-15 years. Make sure that you have the maturity and responsibility to care for a dog in that fashion before you even adopt. There is nothing more damaging for a dog than being adopted, only to be returned and re-adopted months later thanks to an immature owner.
At the end of the day, adopting a dog is a huge time and resource commitment, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and emotionally meaningful undertakings a person can have. If you are in a situation to adopt a dog, and you can adequately and fully care for that dog, do so. You are adopting not only a pet, but also a loyal friend who can be with you for the rest of your life!